Faiz had been an avid reader since a young age. He had started reading both Urdu prose and poetry before his teens, including classics like Fasana-e Azad by Ratan Nath Sarshar and fiction by Abdul Halim Sharar. By his own account, his study of poetry started with Ghalib’s contemporaries, Amir Meenai and Nawab Mirza Khan ‘Daagh Dehlvi’, whom he found easier to read than the notoriously difficult Ghalib. Later, on the advice of his father, he added English books to his reading, starting with Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and H. Rider Haggard, while still in school. In college, since he studied literature and poetry, he said that he had read all European fiction ‘from Hardy to Tolstoy’. Tolstoy was one of his favorite writers and he had read War and Peace ‘about 12 times’!
This love of reading remained with him all his life. When he was imprisoned the second time in Lahore Fort, he took two large trunks of books with him saying, ‘There are books [in there]. There is no opportunity to study seriously outside [prison]. Now that I have a chance, I want to catch up on many years’ worth of reading’!